Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What to Eat Before and After Workouts

One of the most common questions people ask is "What should I eat before and after I workout?"  

A few things you need to think about first are, how long your workout is going to be that day, when you are going to work out, and what your goals are.

How long your workout is going to be. If you are going to be running long-distance, or lifting heavy weights for over an hour, you will definitely want some food in your belly within an hour of working out. You will want to eat something that is easy to digest and will provide you with the necessary energy to get through your workout. Combining high carbs, with protein and a healthy fat will help maintain glycogen stores during exercise.

However, if your workout is going to be short, or less intense, you might just need a light snack. You still want to fuel your body with proper nutrients, but you don't need as many calories.

When is your workout? I really like working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It's just personal preference. But when I work out later in the day or in the evening, I find I can lift heavier, and have more energy because I have eaten previously. Although, if I am going to do PiYo or anything where I'm upside down - definitely empty stomach is best! haha ;)

What are your goals? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to build muscle? Are you training for a marathon? These are things you need to think about. If your main goal is performance, you will need to make sure you have the proper fuel to keep you from bonking. If you are trying to lose weight, you might want to try empty belly cardio first thing in the morning. If you are building muscle, you will want extra protein.

So depending on these things, here are some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

Regardless of your training goals, you will want to avoid heavy, greasy foods, and also foods high in fiber. They will cause you to feel bloated, gassy, and well, you get the idea. ;)

After your workout you want to replenish those glycogen stores and give your body the nutrients it needs to build and repair the muscles.

Generally, you want to have a 3:1 carb to protein ratio for recovery. This is the best time to eat those carbs when they can be used for an immediate surge of energy. ;)

Another great thing to consume post-workout is the P90X Recovery Drink. It really helps with soreness and recovery, and it tastes like an orange creamsicle! Yummy!

As far a supplements go, I usually take BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) before and/or after workouts to help prevent muscle loss, and help with recovery. Glutamine is also a great supplement. ;)

Well, there you have it. You will always want to listen to your body, because you know it best. If you find you are getting dizzy or you are bonking during a workout, make sure to eat a little something before. I find if I am just starving, but I don't want to wait very long for my food to digest before I start my workout, I will just have a 1/2 banana and that works for me.

Also, don't work out on a full stomach - ugh! Let it digest a good 1 - 1.5 hours first. ;)

And stay hydrated!! Drink plenty of water before, during and after workouts! That is extremely important!!

Okay, go work out! Have fun while you're at it. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

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